Cam Newton’s preseason debut for the Carolina Panthers was brief – but effective.
The 28-year old quarterback underwent surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff on March 30; at the time of his surgery, Carolina announced a four-month rehab timetable. Newton was able to play in a game less than five months post-surgery, making good progress over the past couple of weeks.
The Panthers played in rainy Jacksonville on Thursday night, and Newton played just one series. But Newton and his running backs carved up the Jaguars defense in a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive.
Carolina’s backs, Jonathan Stewart and heralded rookie Christian McCaffrey, were so effective that Newton only had to attempt two passes, and his first one didn’t come until the seventh play of the drive.
Before that, Stewart and McCaffrey swapped places between snaps – Stewart had gains of 4 yards and 31, then McCaffrey picked up 6 and 2, and back came Stewart for short gains of 2 and 4.
Newton’s first pass was to McCaffrey in the flat, and went for 12 yards.
Three plays later, from third-and-6 from the Jaguars 9, Newton’s quick drop and quick release led to a touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin.
True to form, Newton gave the touchdown ball to a Panthers fan behind the end zone.
As brief as his night was, Newton did get a chance to work on timing with the running backs, and the pass to Benjamin.
When the Carolina offense came back onto the field after Chad Henne and the Jaguars offense went three-and-out, backup Derek Anderson was in the huddle.